ZedHair has been quiet for the last few weeks and during that time, we clocked our unofficial one year anniversary. I say unofficial because I started this blog with one post in August 2010, but then never wrote anything until February 2011.
From the official to unofficial launch, I took time to read up more on natural hair care and find out what people wanted to learn and well as dealing with my own struggles managing my newly natural hair. Then, I took time to seek out people who could help me with the blog to bounce ideas off, write and generally manage the whole thing. When Nkem (iNky) replied to my email asking for help with not just a “yes this is a good initiative”, but with ideas, suggestions and a vision even I didn’t have, it was the start of a beautiful partnership and journey into hair. I could not and cannot do this without her. ZedHair really is a team effort.
What have I learned?
Blogging is damn damn damn hard work. We have had about three major silence periods when real life just had to take over. I am amazed at those people who consistently manage to blog day in day out, week in week out, month by month. Even when we tried to restrict ourselves to two or three times a week, it is still a staggering amount of time that you need to invest. You also have to look for something to say. This has been surprisingly difficult.
The hardest thing is finding time in my schedule to sit and write, edit, research, link and look for pictures. Now I understand why some of the more established hair blogs tend to use the same pictures over and over. It is a nightmare to find relevant pictures to go with everything and make sure they are adequately credited.
I also understand why many of these bloggers go full time, it really can be a full time job. There is so much more iNky and I have discussed and would love to share, but we both have full time occupations and it just isn’t possible.
I still have so much to learn. I love reading through old posts and chuckling to myself because of what I thought or said then. I have grown so much in my knowledge of my own hair, in my confidence in what I can do, but also in what I write. The easiest and most enjoyable things to write are those from my own experience. For this reason, I do not delete older posts that I now disagree with, but simple add a postscript at the end. This is part of personal growth in my hair journey and I wouldn’t want to lie or misrepresent how I got to where I am. The mistakes are all part of the journey too.
One of the biggest lessons I have learned is that my views about natural hair have changed. I talk about this more in the upcoming post Where My Natural Hair Journey Begins – Part 4 and in the long-awaited and soon-coming The Nappy Mafia. In a nutshell, having encountered the nappy mafia and facing the realities of living with and actually caring for natural hair, I have far less issues than I used to. Meaning, I don’t see hair as the kind of statement I used to view it as. I shy away from the whole natural hair philosophies, upholding the values, not betraying the movement kind of rhetoric. It is not helpful and I didn’t want to turn into some of the Nappy Mafia henchwomen I would find in the online natural hair community. While it is true that for many of us, hair is not just hair, at the same time, I am so much more sympathetic and understanding of people’s differences than I used to be. This is definitely a good thing.
About the Natural Hair Movement
When I started this blog, I spent hours and hours searching the web for other natural hair blogs based in and about Africa. I didn’t find any. So, our original tagline was the first African hair blog. It was a pleasant surprise over the next year to stumble upon so many other natural-haired African bloggers and their blogs. It was not only lovely to be part of a wider sisterhood, but also to get inspiration for what we can do here in our region (Southern Africa). Big up to Natural Nigerian and Kurly Kichana, my main inspirations on the continent.
About Social Media
Starting the ZedHair Facebook page was one of the highlights of the year as well. This has enabled us to rapidly share content with a wider section of people and from the online stats, this is where most of our Zambian readers access the site from. FYI, Facebook is the most visited website in Africa.
About Our Readers
Wow! What can I say? I started this blog to document my own journey as I learned about my hair and to hopefully index information for others that was relevant to our African, regional and Zambian content. However, it is continually humbling that people read this blog at all. A month ago, we passed our 100,000 page views milestone. We are now at something like 135,000.
About the Future
We are still here and plan to continue blogging, hopefully as regularly as we can. We are looking for more people to interview and feature, especially those based in Zambia and surrounding countries. Hello Malawi!!! We are also always looking for more contributors/writers, be it one-time articles or regular columns.
The ZedHair meet-up will be held in October, 2012. This is to allow us enough time to save up and bring in some products and resources, as well as plan and organise it effectively. There is just too much happening in our offline lives between March and September to make it possible any sooner.
Our aim is to increase our Africa and SADC readership. Right now, most of our readers are based in the US, UK, Canada, Nigeria, South Africa and also India. We are working on ways and means to do this, so please holla with ideas.
That’s it for now folks. Thank you for reading. Until next year…